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The President and foreign policy

● Vagueness of Article 2, Section 2

● Implies they can recognise foreign governments → e.g) Cuba 2014, Reps unhappy, but
Congress was not consulted
● Implied powers > any international agreement negotiated by President without COngress
(historically small and technical)
○ Commander in Chief and Chief Diplomat, have largely replaced treaties
● Congress passes a bill authorising president to negotiate on Congress’ behalf → e.g)
OMnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act (1988), NAFTA + NAFTA Implementation Act
● Sole-executive agreements:
○ President negotiates the deal - Congress does not vote
○ Agreements are based on the President’s existing constitutional and statutory
○ Bricker Amendment (1953) to try and change Constitution
○ e.g) Iran Nuclear Programme (lift sanctions - limit nuclear tech) → allowed
because previous sanctions passed by executive order
● Treaties - ⅔ vote, hard to pass but hard to repeal
● Congressional executive agreements - majority in both houses, easier to pass, but still
limited checks
● Sole-executive agreements - made by President alone, arguably undermines checks and
Increase in President’s war powers
● Congress has only declared war 5 times and last was WW2 but still got involved in other
wars e.g) Korean War, attack on Bay of Pigs
○ To limit military action under three est. circumstances (“declaration of war”,
“specific statutory authorisation”, “national emergency”) War Powers Resolution
(1973) was passed
○ But resolution also authorises military action for any reason, without the consent
of cOngress, for a 60 day period → even if Congress denies approval, the
president still has another 30 days to withdraw the troops
● Congress does not use money powers as it is hard to cut funding once troops are
already fighting - Congress does not want to appear unsupportive, or risk safety of
○ Libya (2011) Congressional members tried to use War Powers Resolution to
block after 60 days
● Authorization for Use of Military Force Act (2001): “authorised president to use all
necessary and appropriate force against those…. aided the terrorist attacks that
occurred on September 11 2011” → authorised attacks against groups and individuals,
rather than states - effectively a blank cheque
○ Used in 2014 to justify Syrian air strikes
Case study How achieved? What happened?
(express/implied powers)

Military deployment ● AUMF (2001) allowed ● 2013 Obama

Obama’s airstrikes on launched airstrikes in
Air strikes on Syria (2014-) ISIS, but Trump did Syria as part of a
not get congressional military campaign vs
Sending troops to Mosul approval , and it is ISIS
(2016) unclear as to how he ● 2017 Trump launched
justified his actions airstrikes on a Syrian
● AUMF government airbase,
without congressional
● 2013 Obama
deployed 560 more
troops to help retake
Mosul from ISIS

Executive agreement ● Iran deal passed by ● 2015 nuclear deal

Sole-Executive was signature foreign
Iran nuclear deal (2015) Agreement that needs policy achievement of
Trump rollback (2017) to be recertified every Obama
90-days ● Reps generally
Paris climate deal (2015) ● Allowed because against because they
Trump withdrawal (2017) sanctions were other believed Iran was
executive agreements developing weapons
or the legislation was in secret → Trump
qualified with the fact decided not to
that the president recertify
could temporarily lift ● Trump withdrew as he
sanctions argued it threatened
● Trump refused to the economy and
recertify in October American sovereignty
● Paris deal also
passed by

Diplomatic relations ●

Trump recognition of
Jerusalem as Israeli capital